Phyllis Jeffers-Coly is the co-founder and co-owner of Diasporic Soul and Tangor Café, which she and her husband, Eddy Coly, established in 2016. Diasporic Soul offers heritage and healing experiences that integrate both culture (SOUL) and contemplative practices, including restorative yoga.
By healing we mean putting the energy, heart and courage back into our bodies with our own culture (SOUL) so that we can continue to transform and dismantle the institutions and relationships that have been causing us harm, injury, misery and trauma. Put another way, it means helping us to remember that we are in fact Black. Dope. All Good. And, Beautiful, Magical and Valuable. Diasporic Soul Heritage & Healing Experiences hold space for Black people to deepen their capacity to practice self-care and for healing and restoration, resilience and resistance.
Phyllis is the author of the recently published book We Got Soul; We Can Heal: Overcoming Racial Trauma Through Leadership, Community and Resilience.
She also recently published “When Grandma Comes to Visit: Exploring How Communion with Our Ancestors & Nature Deepens Our Capacity for Healing, Restoration, Resilience, and Resistance” published in Vol. 9 No. 1 (2022): Transcendent Wisdom and Transformative Action: Reflections from Black Contemplatives Journal of Contemplative Inquiry. Phyllis is also co-author of the forthcoming article in Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, “They Are Coming to Get Something”: A Qualitative Study of African American Male Community College Students’ Education Abroad Experience in Senegal, West Africa.”
Phyllis is a certified advanced yoga instructor (600-hour) and continues to explore ways that culture (SOUL) and contemplative practices can allow us to experience healing and restoration.
Most recently, Diasporic Soul hosted, in partnership with the Cincinnati Recreation Commision, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Artist Gee Horton three Black. Dope. All Good. Communal Healing Retreats for Black Men in Cincinnati, OH with the support of a 2021-2022 Black Empowerment Works Grant from the United Way of Cincinnati.
Additionally, for the Dak’art Biennale, Diasporic Soul co-curated My Soul to Keep, which consists of a virtual exhibition of works by mixed-media artist Angela Franklin as well as an Artist Talk moderated by Sugarcane Magazine’s Melissa Hunter-Davis and two offerings focused on the ways that Angela’s works depict what we know about how SOUL as “a transformative healing resource that reflects the cultural sensibilities of the African Diaspora.”
Prior to launching Diasporic Soul, Phyllis served as the Dean of Enrollment Management at Central State University. Her higher ed experience also includes serving as faculty at University of Cincinnati and Montgomery College and access work with Project Grad Cincinnati and the College Success Foundation in Washington, DC. She also is well-versed and experience in higher ed policy, particularly issues related to affordability and access. She is a proud North Carolina native who grew up in S.E. Raleigh and spent much of her childhood in parks and libraries. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University where she served as the Shut Em Down SGA President (1992-1993) and Editor of Ex Umbra Magazine (1991-92).